PatentsInHumans paper presented at the Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference in Ulster University

by | Apr 5, 2023 | News

On 5th April 2023, Prof Aisling McMahon & Dr Opeyemi Kolawole presented research from the European Research Council funded PatentsInHumans to the SLSA conference at the University of Ulster. Prof Aisling McMahon and Opeyemi Kolawole presented a co-authored paper at the Intellectual Property panel of the SLSA conference entitled “Patenting (In) the Human Body: The ‘No (Tangible) Property Rights in the Body’ Principle & Patents Considered”. This paper focused on the ‘no property in the body’ principle – i.e., that the living human body and its constituent parts cannot be subject to tangible property rights – which is a long-standing principle within medical jurisprudence. Although this principle is contested, and limited exceptions arise, it remains largely entrenched. The paper argued that despite a breadth of literature considering tangible property rights and the body, limited work examines intangible property rights and the body from this perspective. Taking patents as a case study, this paper aimed to start a conversation around filling this gap. In doing so, it examined to what extent patents over a range of technologies related to the human body, such as isolated human genes and 3D bioprinted technologies, give rise to similar concerns to those raised against property in the body. You can find out more about the PatentsInHumans project by watching this short video:

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